Monday, August 31, 2009

117 miles

I have run 117 miles during the month of August, finishing the month with a 22 miler yesterday. What can I say? My marathon training program is almost over and it is bittersweet. The Equinox Marathon is 19 days away and I am as ready as a first time marathoner can be. Crazy. I never thought in a million years I would actually be here.

Let's review Sunday's 22 miler:

We had a 5:30am call, all of the Chicago All-Stars were there. Uzman was giving out little glow braclets to help us be seen along the road before the sun came up. The Weather Channel told me it was 74 degrees with 100% humidity. This was rather distressing to me, I had attempted 20 miles two weeks ago, only to have it turn into a big FAIL due to the level of humidity. Well, that and a few other variables. Ever the historian, I took some precautions to avoid repeating that outcome. I figured since we were doing two 11 mile loops I would bring another shirt, some dry socks and my other pair of running shoes in the event what I was wearing became too sweat soaked.

We began our journey, I settled into a great pace early on. My breathing was comfortable and the humidity was not overwelming. I knew I had a long day in front of me, I was anticipating 5 hours or so when I added in water breaks. I was carrying my hand held water bottle so I didn't feel the need to stop at the first water station 4 miles into the run. There is a stretch of road on this route that is 3 miles long, I commonly refer to this as the "death march" portion of this route.
The first pass along the death march was really easy, the sun was rising during my trek and I was in awe of the magnificent specticle that was mine for the viewing. I made it to the marina ( 7 miles) and stopped for water and a popcicle. I felt great and it was nice to chat with the other runners. The humidity was starting to lift as the sun came up, I was a little worried about a repeat of my last 20 mile attempt. The next two miles passed pretty easliy and I managed to catch up to one of the groups that was ahead of me most of the morning, in hindsight I think this was the first mistake of the day, as I pushed myself a little too much halfway into my run.
As I finished the first 11 mile loop, i decided to refill with gatorade and change my shirt, socks and shoes. I felt like a new man right out of the gate, but was VERY aware of the fact that I switched from my brand new(less than 50 miles) shoes, to my borderline expired(400 miles) shoes. Wow, I was not aware of the difference in these shoes, same shoe, same model everything...just more mileage.
Two miles into my second loop and i was beginning to struggle. My feet were immediately beginning to feel the effect from the pounding and my right knee was also beginning to throb. I started a walk/run combo where I would run for ten minutes and walk for one. I got to the 4 mile mark, 15 on the day and took my time at the water stop. Mentally I was strong, knowing that I "only" had 7 miles to go. I hit the marina and was rather happy to be 18 miles into the run. I pondered the idea that this is where "the wall" is usually located and wondered how I will feel at this point during The Equinox.
My remaining four miles passed very slowly as I was reduced to running two street signs, walking one. I was able to dig deep and run the last mile, although it was at a very slow pace. I truly believe if I had stayed in my new running shoes I would have been in a lot less pain. The point is that I did it. I didn't drop out early and listen to the "Running is Stupid" committee. I was very close to making a left turn at one point and only doing 18 miles. I knew I needed to get 22, I now know I can do it. One foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

So, I am officially in the taper portion of my training and will be leaving for Alaska in two weeks...I can't wait!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Greetings Race Fans!!!!

After much research( okay well after spending 10 minutes on I have filled out my race schedule for the Fall/Winter. I have gone through the tedious process of posting my schedule to the right, for everyone's viewing pleasure. I will provide start times and locations for all would be running stalwarts-signs are greatly encouraged!

A few of these races are the most popular ones held here in the Lowcountry, some of my favorite. The YMCA 5K is the third largest race in Savannah, it is run the first Friday evening in October, in downtown Savannah. Always a great turn out and after party.

Tim and Nicole DeBoom are bringing us their Skirt Chaser race series for the first time , this will be an awesome event. I love the format, sending the women out in the first "Catch Me" wave, with the men leaving three minutes later in the "Skirt Chaser" wave...I have always been a skirt chaser, this race was a no brainer! To really add to the fun this event is a night race, being held on Halloween and we will run most of the race on this great race track in Savannah.

The Rose Dhu Creek 10K Trail Run should be an interesting event, I have not run a trail race since high school....

I will also be running in Savannah's largest road race, The Savannah River Bridge Run "Double Pump", for the first time. This race combines two races, they created this format a couple of years ago and it is developing quite a following. Savannah has always had a 5K/10K format for the bridge run, race oragnizers decided to split the start time and give runners a chance to do both. The way it will work is the 5k starts at 8:00am. We will run from Hutchinson Island, over the bridge and into Savannah. Then get into the starting coral for the 10K which will begin at 8:45am. The 10K is an out and back course, so "Double Pumper's'" will run both races, making three trips over the bridge. They will then combine both race times for our actually time...pretty cool, and you also get a cool "Double Pump" mug for finishing.

Last but not least, I have added a "half mary" to my schedule, I believe Carolina John will be joining us at the "Redneck Riviera" to compete in the Critz Tybee Island Half Marathon & 5K. This is a fast and flat course, I will be shooting for a sub 2 hour time. (and maybe some blogger bragging rights...)

Sunday will be my final long run before I begin my taper...22 miles with the Chicago All-Stars! 23 days until the Equinox!!! One foot in front of the other, one step at a time!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Week of Ups and Downs...

So the following day after my surprising performance at the Savannah Mile I was scheduled to run 20 miles. I didn't want to run 20. I tried all day Saturday to get mentally prepared for it....

Life lesson #1. Do not go out to dinner with co-workers until 12:30am, when you have a 4:45am call time for your 20 mile run.

Life lesson #2. Just because you pray before bed that there will be thunderstorms when you wake up, it doesn't mean your HP will hook you up.

Life lesson #3. When you do finally get out of bed at 5:30am for your 20 mile run, be prepared for a long morning when the weather channel reports it is 84 degrees with 99% humidity.

So...pulled up to the Landings and stepped out into my morning oatmeal...or at least that is what the air felt like as I began my morning run. "Slow and steady Thomas, we will be at the marina in no time."

The wheels started to fall off early. Two miles into the run my breathing never really evened out any my shirt had already become so drenched that it was causing my shorts to stick to my legs...The humidity was the worst I can ever recall. By mile five, the sweat running down my legs was causing my socks to really get soaked...I could hear someone calling "The Running Is Stupid" committee in my head to order. I had a feeling they were about to have a meeting to discuss the Baker Act; knowing that the guy in charge of the body was off his rocker. HR 187 was passed quickly, with little debate and the morning run was shortened to an 11 mile trek. I got to the Marina (7 mile mark) and took off my shirt to ring out the excess sweat. OMG, i could not believe the amount of water that came out. I then followed the same process with my shorts. Yes mom, I was wearing compression shorts underneath my running shorts. (and it was early, nobody was around) I also rang out my socks but there was really nothing else I could do. I took a GU and continued on back to the car. The next four miles consisted of a walk/run combination where I was trying every possible trick to convince myself that running is actually something I enjoy doing. As a constituent of the Chairman of the Running Is Stupid committee, I would like to go on record stating the fact that I will not be voting for him in his next campaign for re-election.

Tuesday, seven miler with Cubbie. Still smarting from Sunday's defeat, I had something to prove. We really laid it down, I set the pace for the first 5 miles and you would think that I had a hot date later because we were moving!

Thursday---NEW SHOES!!! It was time to ante up and I had a $25.00 credit at Fleet Feet. I bought the exact same shoe I am currently running in, Mizuno Wave Inspire 5. I lurve these shoes. I decided to break them in with a 5 mile tempo run around the park. One mile warm up to the park and then three laps at tempo pace. I was clocking my miles somewhere on the average of a 9 minute pace. There were alot of runners at the park so I had alot of people to pull me and help me hold my pace...

Sunday-11 miles with Cubbie...
Great run, having Hurricane Bill sitting off of the coast the weather this weekend was B. E. A. Utiful! We got on teh road at about 9am and I could not have been happier to run. We powered through our first 5.5 mile lap catching up on all of the gossip, stopped for water and then started the second loop. I was really feeling great and decided to really push it for the last two miles. I think I felt "Runner's High" for the first time during a run. I have often felt a certain "high" imediately after a run, but never during one. Yeasterday was different. Awesome run all around.

26 days until the Equinox, one foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Georgia Snail at the Savannah Mile


I am just going to look at that for a while...

I understand that that is not a fast time for alot of people around here, but for this guy-right now-that was fast! Yep, that was me two hours ago at The Savannah Mile. I was hoping to go sub 8:00. I was going to be thrilled to hit 7:30. But 7:19?!?! come on, that is just silly...I do my 400 intervals at a 1:50 pace. Which is the same pace I just ran that mile. I missed placing in my age group by 35 seconds. There wasn't a great turn out, but this gives me something to shoot for next year...I will rethink my track workouts, eventually (sooner, not later) will begin doing the workouts the fast snails are doing. I am going to enjoy this day...Because tomorrow I have to do 20 miles...One foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

Friday, August 7, 2009

In with the New, Out with the Old...

Today I move into a new age group! I am now at the bottom of the 35-39 year old group. We will test the new grouping at next week's Savannah Mile. My short term goal is to not finish last in my new age catagory! The long term goal will be to become competitive in the new group by 2010...I know, I know, one thing at a time.

Ran the Fleet Feet track workout Wednesday morning. Spokes gave us a little switch to the workout. We warmed up with an easy mile, some light stretching and then came the pain...That which does not kill us...(will make our legs hurt and chest feel like it is going to burst!?!?)

We did a 100M at 5K pace, followed by 100M recovery. Immediately moved into a 200M at 5K pace, 100M recovery. 300M at 5K, 100M recovery. Rinse and repeat! We did a total of 5 of these circuits. Our goal pace was 8:00/mile. This is probably a little faster than my current 5K pace but I feel I am not pushing myself in regards to what my 5K pace should be...we will find my true 5K pace this fall after I finish my marathon training and begin to focus on some shorter distance races.

Last night Cubbie and I met up for "Bridge Thursday's", schedule called for 8 miles so off we went. Eased into the run and we hit the bridge at about the mile and a half mark. Up and over, not too bad, the more I do it, the less I dread it. Typical bridge route is a little over 6 miles; we decided to add a mile and a half in the middle of the run, in between trips over the bridge. Funny little aside, as I was running back up the bridge, there was this guy driving down the bridge, smoking a bowl! I see some of the most interesting things on my runs...Anyways, that second climb was a back breaker, the good news being that as soon as I crested the bridge and yelled, "Get off of me bridge!" the pain immediately left and I began the 3/4 mile decent back to Savannah, by far my favorite part of this workout. Total running time 1:23:02, about 7.5 miles.

Thanks to everyone who has been stopping by the blog and leaving comments, thanks to those who stop by and just read as well.

43 days until the Equinox, one foot in front of the other, one step at a time!

Monday, August 3, 2009

18 With The Chicago All-Stars!

Long Run Sunday!!!

But first a quick recap of my other runs(I use my blog as a workout diary of sorts...)

Thursday- Cubbie and I meet at my house and we ran "The Bridge" Big monster bridge that takes you from Savannah to South Cackalacky...stats:1.5 miles from base to base, 5.5% incline.

It is about a mile and a 1/4 from my house to the bridge. We pretty much mirrored the 10K bridge run course. Brutal heat, especially in the low's before and after the bridge. Felt great going up the first climb, which is the harder of the two because of the steep incline on the onramp. As we crested the bridge you can't help but gawk at the beautiful view of downtown Savannah from the top of this bridge. I thought we were running with a light tailwind...anyways, down the bridge, battle with the blazing heat in the low and then back up the other side...Whoa!!! that was not a "light" tailwind. As we were blasted in the face about a 1/4 of the way up, this must have been a 20 mph headwind at least. It was all I could to to stay vertical...definately working the "lean" to stay upright. I think I was still running, but it felt like I was moving through a giant blob of running time 1 hour and 5 minutes...give or take...

Saturday- short run 3.5 miles with a timed second mile of 8:37. The Savannah Mile is in a couple of weeks, I would like to go sub 8:00.

Sunday-This is where daddy pays his dues...18 miler Long Run.
We meet up with the Chicago training group at 6:00am for their planned 18 miler. I had been on the fence all week about this run. MY schedule called for a 10 mile LR after last weeks 14 miler. Cubbie wanted to do the 18, I told her she was on her own, I am doing 10. All week there was this voice in the back of my head. "The Equinox is waiting, have you paid your dues?" "If you build it they will..."Sorry wrong voice..."You can do 18, you are just using this schedule thing as cop out" "What if you get hurt, stay with the schedule" I was going to run with Spokes who is training for NY, he was scheduled to do 12. He didn't show up! Now what?!?!
Uzman mapped out the course and was awesome in setting up four water and popsicle stops. Simple route; do the 11 miler "marina" run followed by the 7 mile loop. As I started my run I was still planning on only doing the 11 mile route, maybe a little extra...I hit the Marina(7 miles) and felt like a champ. I was taking GU every 45 minutes and had my handheld water bottle. I saw Cubbie leaving the marina as I was coming in and we had a very simple exchange:

Coolest running budddy ever-"How do you feel?"
Me-"Really good, you?"
Cubbie-"Good! You doing the whole 18?"
Dilly-Dallyier-"Not sure yet!"
Anti Christ-"You're Doing it! Come on!"

That was it. I got to the end of that route and felt great. No reason why I can do another 7 miles right?!?! Refilled the water bottle with G2 and began the 7 mile loop. The next three miles went by pretty easily. I was still holding an 11:00-11:30 pace, stopping for water at the water stops.

The last 4 miles became an exercise in mental fitness. It was now 9:00am and it was really starting to get hot. I wanted to quit. I began taking two minute walk breaks for every 10 minutes of running. My salvation came in two things; the final three miles were completely in the shade and there was a young lady named Jackie who was also pacing at about the same speed. Lately I have been trying this little gem when it really hurts. "If I am suffering this much, they(he, she, whomever is nearby) must be suffering just as much, if not more" I am not sure what part of me thinking other people are suffering makes it easier for me to deal with but it kinda works...As I pushed through the final mile, I allowed myself to really focus on the gravity of what I am doing...I am training for a marathon. I am about to run 18 miles for the first time in my life. I am changing my life one step at a time.

After I finished I stuck around to talk with some of the other runners. This is a really cool group of people with great (and varied) running backgrounds. Most interestingly is a woman( i didn't catch her name) who has finished 2 ironmans , one being Kona, and 2 half irons since 2004. Oh, btw, she is, I turn 35 on Friday...What am I going to do with the next 37 years of my life?